Circle the wagons, grab your money, buy the seats, because the Cleveland Indians we expected are ready to return. Travis Hafner shows signs of the player of years gone by and Grady Sizemore has returned. Asdrubal Cabrera should return to shortstop next week. Aaron Laffey is slated to return to the starting rotation.
Now its time for Wedge to make the Great Experiment: a set lineup.
Cabrera SS, Sizemore CF, Martinez C, Choo RF, DeRosa LF, Hafner DH, Peralta 3B, Garko 1B, Valbuena 2B.
When Shoppach has catching duties, Garko goes out. When its time to rest Hafner use Garko or Giminez.
The bench needs a left-handed batter. Crowe should have that spot. Carroll, Giminez, and Francisco should round out the bench. Barfield is once again the odd man out. That would be more position players than the Indians have been carrying.
Put Sowers is in the bullpen. Let him know that you need him to do to the bullpen what Laffey did before his injury—stabilize it.
The rotation would be Lee, Pavanao, Laffey, Ohka, and Huff. The bullpen should be Herges, Sipp, Smith, Jose Veras, Sowers, and Wood. Sipp has to be the setup man. When Betancourt returns Herges, Smith, or Veras had better have separated themselves from the pack.
If someone offered me a player for Francisco I'd take it, especially a player with options.
Will they win the division? I doubt it.
We have six games against the White Sox and three in Detroit before the All-Star Game. This team has to take advantage of these games. The remainder of the month of July will be against Toronto and the AL West teams. We have to win series.
Dream two comes when Westbrook and Carmona return and a confident Perez is throwing strikes.